Journal Article

Through reading the Sejarah Melayu, this article suggests that foreigners are fundamental to the constitution of Malay sovereignty. Malay polities, located at the crossroads of international trade, thrived on commerce with foreign merchants. Power and wealth necessarily engage the foreign, as does destruction. The Sejarah Melayu pays attention to how foreign powers are identified, tested and incorporated, in a compact that constitutes Malay sovereignty and polity. This process, in which a universal kingly line transforms into Malay sovereign, creates a language that enunciates the terms of alliance between local and foreign. A single process both incorporates the foreign and establishes the ritual language of Malay sovereignty. Malay sovereignty thus constituted takes diarchical forms in texts and in history. The Sejarah Melayu model of diarchic sovereignty is contrasted with the political constitution of contemporary Malaysia derived from colonial India, in which a singular, exclusive, autochthonous, native Malay culture claims sovereign rule. © 2013 Copyright Editors, Indonesia and the Malay World.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ho, E

Published Date

  • July 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 120

Start / End Page

  • 146 - 167

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-8382

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1363-9811

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/13639811.2013.790179

Citation Source

  • Scopus